My Second Week With The Onion – Sophomore Slump

Joe Camel
See, because Camel cigarettes have a Camel as their spokesperson, but he prefers the compet...
Confused
The average reaction to my headlines on Week 2

A few weeks ago I started a humor writing class with The Onion.

In this course we are taught about satire and how The Onion approaches comedy. The publication is known for its sharp, pithy headlines and these headlines are the primary focus of the class. Headlines, in fact, are so important, it’s how The Onion selects articles for publication. Every week hundreds of headlines are submitted by editors and five or so articles emerge from that list. Their very best writers only have about a 1 in 50 chance of their headline becoming an article. We are asked each week to bring our ten best headlines and one article to be evaluated by classmates and instructor.

I was pleased with my work in week one. The jokes went over in most cases, and I felt that I had the knack to keep knocking out decent work in subsequent sessions. This proved more difficult than I had anticipated. In week one it only took two hours to write fifty headlines. The reason to write fifty is that forty are bound to be terrible. For example I am 100% in love with this headline:

Study Finds Camels Who Smoke Prefer Kools

I’m clear that there’s not one person on the planet that will share my love of that headline. It’s dumb. So there’s no way I can submit it in class unless I’m interested in sucking all of out the funny of the room. And since I care very much what others think of me, I wouldn’t include that in my final list.

But still, two hours of work got me ten decent headlines which performed well in class. However, this past week, I spent ten hours to generate that same output. I’m not sure why it took three times longer, but I can tell you it was frustrating. When I whittled down my list of fifty, I wasn’t pleased with the final ten. By my estimate, only five of the ten were winners. And, I guess if I had put in another ten hours maybe I would have perfected all of them, but I don’t have that kind of time. Peaky Blinders doesn’t watch itself.

One bright spot was that my article came out stronger than last week. Read aloud in class most of the students didn’t laugh at the story, but that’s because I don’t think they understood the reference. My teacher thought it was good, and she’s the expert.

For your reading enjoyment (or non-enjoyment), here’s my submitted list, warts and all.

– Headlines –

  • Alexa Always Listening, Silently Judging
  • Man Encouraged Not To Ask Wife To Pick Up Dinner On Way Home From Women’s March
  • Guy At Work Who Brags About Never Getting Sick Needs to Shut The Fuck Up
  • Megyn Kelly Surprisingly Proud of Taking Down 80 Year Old Woman
  • Local Man “Pretty Sure” Ex-Girlfriend Is Still Using His Netflix Account
  • Multicolored Mystery Stain on Presenter’s Pant Leg Derails Corporate Meeting
  • Gayle King Cancels “Gayle for VEEP” Bumper Sticker Order With A Deep Sigh
  • First Monkey Successfully Cloned, Ready to Throw Feces At Zoo Patrons
  • Shirtless Selfie Guy On Tinder Believes Best Photography Lighting In Bathroom

– Article –

Gwyneth Paltrow Re-Signs With Satan

LOS ANGELES, CA—A joint press release today announced that Goop CEO Gwyneth Paltrow and Lucifer have renewed their business partnership through 2023, with promises to continue to bring morally and ethically bankrupt products to Goop readers. “Goop is proud to keep working alongside the prince of darkness, or as we like to call him around the office, ‘the prince of profit!'” Paltrow joked, also noting that the success of Goop’s vaginal egg line, coffee enema cleanse kits, and frog venom antibiotics were entirely conceived and developed by the ruler of demons. “I’ve got a lot of ideas for new products that are both criminally dangerous to mind and spirit, and hilariously overpriced,” the fallen angel revealed with a smile, noting that Goop readers are always willing to put themselves at great personal risk while shelling out hundreds of dollars for incredibly stupid items.

Joe Camel
See, because Camel cigarettes have a camel as their spokesperson, but he prefers the compet…

Read this next!

Join D.J.'s Mailing List!

You're worth it. Give yourself the gift of more ThoughtsFromParis!

Thanks! Check your inbox or spam folder for a welcome message from D.J. - it should be there now!

Something went wrong.